GE to offer Macs to their 330,000 employees as it standardizes on iOS for mobile

We saw yesterday how Microsoft’s absence in mobile led to the removal of Surface tablets from Delta’s employee offerings, and today we have more evidence of the erosion of Microsoft’s dominance in the enterprise as companies increasingly work to simplify their platforms.

Industrial giant GE has announced a partnership with Apple to bring Predix, GE’s software platform for the Industrial Internet, to Apple’s iPhone smartphones and iPad tablets.

The new Predix-iOS software development kit will include tools that software developers can use to write industrial apps that will run on Apple’s iOS operating system.

The new partnership means that a wind turbine mechanic in Oklahoma and engineers in New York City can use their iPhones to collaborate on fixing a problem that normally would require a trip back to headquarters — by launching, say, Apple’s FaceTime video chat — and make real-time decisions with instant visuals.

“We are really taking these very complex industrial scenarios and bringing them together with the simplicity of the iOS experience,” explains Kevin Ichhpurani, GE Digital’s executive vice president and corporate officer who leads the unit’s ecosystem and channels.

As part of the partnership, GE will make iPhones and iPads the preferred mobile devices for their workers around the world.

GE will also be offering Apple’s Mac computers as an option for their 330,000 employees.

The Register, commenting on the news, notes that this follows the footsteps of IBM, who switched 100,000 employees to Macs and reported reduced total cost of ownership over a four-year period of $273 to $543 per Mac due to lower support costs.

In both cases the entry point for Apple has been their mobile offering, and the Reg’s Andrew Orlowski notes:

Microsoft can no longer offer the end-to-end proposition that served it so well, even if parts of the proposition were far from best-in-class. It owned the clients, and the developer stack, and a large part of the server tier. Now it doesn’t, and if the client base melts away, this doesn’t make Azure particularly compelling.

As Apple, who is currently a Top 15  enterprise vendors with $25 billion in annual revenue, becomes increasingly focussed on enterprise, due to the saturation of the consumer market and the great margins available there, Microsoft may be facing a challenge it is now very ill prepared for.

Thanks Marius for the tip.

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